FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Fort Wayne Police are still searching for a suspect they say lured a toddler away from her family and into a minivan.
Police were first called about a possible missing child around 3:45 p.m. Saturday. Officers responded to the Salvation Army on Lima Road and after talking with witnesses, they issued an Amber Alert for Julianna Gootee, 2, around 5:15.
Witnesses told police they saw the girl shopping with her family and then went off to play with the toys. She was then seen following a man in an odd way. Witnesses said it didn't seem "normal" the way she was following him.
They told police they saw the girl get into a light-colored minivan with the man and drive off.
Then, right about the time the Amber Alert was being issued, people spotted the girl wandering through the parking lot at the Rustic Hutch on Coldwater Road. That's five miles from the Salvation Army where police say she was abducted. It was confirmed that the girl was Gootee
“There was about an hour and a half to two hours there that are unaccounted for,” said Fort Wayne Public Information Officer Raquel Foster. “ We do not know where this two-and-a-half-year-old toddler was at for those two hours.” They also don’t know who she was with, but witnesses gave them a description.
Witnesses described him as six-foot tall with a stocky build. He was clean shaven with dark-colored in a grown-out military cut. He could still be driving a light-colored white or beige minivan.
Police said the toddler was not hurt and the Amber Alert was canceled.
The suspect or the minivan were not seen at the Rustic Hutch and its still unclear exactly what happened or how she got there. Police are still looking for the man suspected of abducting the girl.
Anyone who thinks they may have information in this case should call police at (260) 436-7867 or CrimeStoppers at (260) 436-STOP.
Police added that the reason they couldn't issue an Amber Alert immediately is because they have to confirm that the girl was abducted and not just missing to meet the criteria for an Amber Alert. Through witness accounts, police were able to get a suspect description to release.